When constructing or repairing flat roofing systems, felt has traditionally been the material of choice. However, thanks to advances in roofing technology, property owners in the UK now have more options than ever. Furthermore, modern roofing materials are more durable, cost-effective and longer-lasting. So, what are the ideal flat roof repair materials?
A Few Things to Consider
Whether you are installing a new flat roof or repairing an existing one, you should do your homework to ensure that you’ll get exactly what you need. As mentioned earlier, when it comes to flat roofing materials, there are now several options to choose from. However, by taking the following factors into account, you can be sure that you’ll make the best decision to suit your requirements:
- Budget – how much are you willing to spend on your roofing project?
- Climate – is your property located in an area that experiences heavy rain, intense sunlight or extreme temperatures?
- Timeline – how long are you willing to wait for your roof to be repaired or installed?
- Labour – are you going to hire a professional roofer or can you carry out the repairs yourself?
Once you have carefully considered these vital elements of your roofing project, you will be ready to find out more information about the most common materials used to repair or install flat roofing systems.
A built-up roof, also known as BUR, is one of the most common flat roof repair materials in the UK. In fact, it has been around for more than 100 years. BUR is made by applying a few layers of tar and gravel to the roof, followed by a watertight seal.
The best qualities of BUR are its durability and sturdiness. It also provides good insulation and is easy to maintain. More importantly, it can last for up to 20 years. However, BUR can be expensive, and its construction can take a long time because of the number of layers of tar and gravel you need to apply. But, if you have the budget and you are not in a hurry, BUR may be the ideal option for you.
EPDM Rubber Roofing
If you are looking for something more environmentally friendly, EPDM (or ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber is your best bet. This is a synthetic material made from recycled rubber. Unlike other roofing materials, such as bitumen, EPDM doesn’t release noxious chemicals.
An EPDM flat roof can last longer than BUR as it has a minimum lifespan of 50 years. Besides being environmentally friendly, it also provides excellent insulation, is highly resistant to UV rays and is easy to repair. However, leaks can occur if the roof is not installed correctly. As such, it’s best to leave this task to the professionals.
A favourite among property owners and tradespeople, fibreglass is both strong and aesthetically pleasing. This type of roof is made by applying liquid fibreglass over a reinforced layer of chopped strand matting.
A fibreglass flat roof is lightweight, durable and impact-resistant. Well-suited to wet conditions, it will also give your property a clean and contemporary look. However, similar to EPDM rubber, repairs and installation should be carried out by professional roofers. Its rigidity also makes this roofing material susceptible to cracking.
Bitumen is made from distilled crude oil mixed with sand or crushed limestone. When used as a roofing material, sheets of modified bitumen are heated with a blowtorch or heat gun and then installed with a roller.
If you have a limited budget, modified bitumen will be perfect for you as it is one of the most inexpensive flat roof repair materials on the market today. It is quick to install and repairs are a breeze. However, as bitumen can be a hazardous material, you need to ensure it is installed correctly (perhaps professionally) to ensure the best results and to avoid putting your safety at risk.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a popular roofing option because of its strength and durability. A heat gun is used during installation to ensure the stability of its seam, making the material more leak- and wind-resistant.
Similar to BUR, PVC can last for around 20 years. Besides being leak- and wind-resistant, it is also impervious to pollutants. However, installation can be complicated so it is advisable to allow experienced roofers to install and repair your PVC roof for you. Also, after approximately 20 years, the additives incorporated in the material to improve its flexibility can cause problems. Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on your roof and carry out repairs when necessary.
Make the Right Choice
There isn’t really a “best flat roof repair material” since they all have their own unique features, strengths, weaknesses and modes of installation. Therefore, when selecting a material for your roofing project, you should consider your needs, budget and preferences. This will help you identify which material will give you the best results and excellent value for your money.
If you need any help deciding on which material will work best for your property, Kingsley Roofing Services will be happy to offer some expert advice. Our team will provide you with professional insights to help you make a smart decision. Please contact us today for all the assistance you need.